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UFC 235: Jones vs Smith Betting Odds and Picks

The UFC returns to the fight mecca of the world at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada this Saturday for UFC 235. Two belts will be up for grabs on this card as Jon “Bones” Jones defends his light heavyweight belt against Anthony “Lionheart” Smith and Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley looks to remain the welterweight champ vs Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman. Both champs are faves with Jones coming in at -800 and Smith being a +500 underdog, while Woodley is -175 to Usman’s +145 odds. I have a breakdown and a pick for each fight on the main card.

Shark Bites
  • Jon Jones is unbeaten in his last 15 fights.
  • Anthony Smith has earned a finish in each of his last six wins.
  • Jon Jones only absorbs 2.11 significant strikes per minute.

Jones vs Smith Fight Center

Scott Hastings’ 2019 Prediction Record To Date
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Odds Analysis

Jon Jones at -900 is providing absolutely no value. If you’re looking to get Bones at a better number, you will have to look at him finishing the fight – a feat he has done in 10 of his 17 UFC wins. Meanwhile, Smith at +500 is the largest underdog he’s been in his UFC career. The next largest was when he was a +285 dog vs Andrew Sanchez, a fight he won via third-round knockout.

Jon Jones vs Anthony Smith

Jones (-800) is looking to extend his unbeaten streak to 16 fights after coming off an impressive third-round knockout victory over Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232. The only reason Jones isn’t on a 15-fight winning streak is that his third-round knockout win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 was overturned after Bones tested positive for oral turinabol.

The 31-year-old is a brilliant fighter with incredible strength and a ridiculous 84.5-inch reach that he utilizes very well. Jones is creative and explosive, averaging 4.43 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 2.11 significant strikes per minute. The New York native can also bring the fight to the mat if he feels any pressure in the standup department, averaging 2.09 takedowns per 15 minutes.

Smith (+500) looks like a different human being since making the jump from middleweight to light heavyweight midway through last year. Lionheart was knocked out in the second round vs Thiago Santos in February of last year and made the jump to light heavyweight in his next bout. The 30-year-old rattled off three straight victories – all finishes, two by knockout and one by submission – to earn his title shot.

The Texas native is primarily a striker with 17 of his 31 professional victories coming by knockout and he has only gone to the judges’ scorecards twice in his career. Smith averages 3.49 significant strikes per minute but absorbs 4.14 significant strikes per minute and only defends 46 percent of takedown attempts.

Jones is a master of dissecting his opponents’ tendencies and setting them up to capitalize on those mistakes, while Smith likes to fire from the hip and seek the knockout win. Lionheart does a good job at working behind his jab to set up his other strikes, but that may be difficult to do against a guy who will have an 8.5-inch reach advantage.

Prediction: Jon Jones (-800) via submission

Jones vs Smith Fight Center

For more on this fight, check out my odds analysis article.

Tyron Woodley vs Kamaru Usman

Woodley (-175) is unbeaten in his last seven fights and is making his fifth title defense. The Chosen One hasn’t lost a fight since he fought Rory MacDonald at UFC 174 in 2014 and lost by decision. Most recently, the 36-year-old earned a second-round submission win over Darren Till at UFC 228 in September.

The champion is a dangerous fighter in the standup game and on the floor. He has earned finishes in 12 of his 19 professional wins, seven by knockout and five by submission. Woodley is extremely strong for the welterweight division, needing just one punch to put his opponents on dream street, or he can use his exceptional wrestling to bring the fight to the floor.

Usman (+145) is looking to remain undefeated in the UFC, having rattled off nine straight wins since making his Octagon debut in 2015. The Nigerian Nightmare has gone to the judges’ scorecards in seven of those bouts, only earning a submission win in his debut and a knockout win over Sergio Moraes in September 2017.

The 31-year-old is an incredible wrestler with a strong ground and pound game. The Nigeria native averages 4.47 takedowns per 15 minutes, which was on full display in his last outing when he landed 12 takedowns vs Rafael Dos Anjos in November. In the striking department, he is just OK, throwing wild overhand strikes looking to close the distance and work toward a takedown.

Woodley will have a massive advantage in the standup game in this fight. He’s very explosive and compact with his punches, whereas Usman is just a little erratic and his focus is more on bringing the fight to the floor. Both fighters have extremely good takedown defense as the Nigerian Nightmare has never been taken down in the Octagon, while only Rory MacDonald was able to get the Chosen One on the mat.

Prediction: Tyron Woodley (-175) via knockout

Woodley vs Usman Fight Center

For more on this fight, check out my odds analysis article.

Ben Askren vs Robbie Lawler

Askren (-260) is making his Octagon debut after being traded from ONE FC in exchange for former pound-for-pound king and former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. “Funky” brings with him a perfect 18-0 record and is entering the cage for the first time since November 2017.

The 34-year-old competed as a wrestler in the 2008 Olympic Games, losing his opening match and finished sixth in his division. Askren has an excellent wrestling pedigree and on the floor, he has an aggressive ground and pound. He was the Bellator champion and the ONE FC champion when he competed in those organizations. Of his 18 professional wins, 11 have been finishes, six by T/KO and five by submission.

Lawler (+200) is returning to the Octagon for the first time since his fight against Rafael Dos Anjos in December 2017. “Ruthless” suffered a torn ACL in that unanimous-decision loss to RDA. Prior to that loss, Lawler had won six of seven fights, with his only loss being a T/KO defeat to the current welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley.

The California native is a brawler with 20 of his 28 professional wins coming by knockout. Lawler marches forward, trying to get into a phone booth fight where he can bite down on his mouthpiece or go punch for punch with his opponents. He averages 3.56 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.99 significant strikes per minute.

In a classic grappler vs striker matchup, if Askren can’t find a way to drag Lawler to the floor, he’s in deep trouble, but if Ruthless can’t stop Funky’s takedowns, he’s in for a long night. Also, there has been much flak about Askren’s opponents not being “UFC” caliber so that will be tested on Saturday, but the rumors are that he throws around his training partner, welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, in practice.

Prediction: Ben Askren (-260) via decision

Askren vs Lawler Fight Center

For more on this fight, check out my odds analysis article.

Tecia Torres vs Weili Zhang

Torres (+110) is looking to put an end to her career-long, two-fight losing streak. “The Tiny Tornado” most recently went to the judges’ scorecards with Joanna Jedrzejczyk, losing by unanimous decision, her second straight loss in that manner after falling to Jessica Andrade in February last year. Prior to those losses, the 29-year-old had won six of seven fights, with her only loss over that span coming against current strawweight champion Rose Namajunas.

She is a scrappy fighter who likes to let her hands go in a war on the feet. She is averaging 4.44 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 3.11 significant strikes per minute and avoiding 65 percent of strikes against. However, even though she likes to get into these battles, she doesn’t have a single knockout victory in her career, with 12 of her 13 professional fights going to the judges’ scorecards.

Zhang (-140) is looking to remain perfect in the UFC, earning victories in her first two fights in the organization last year. Most recently, she earned a first-round submission victory over Jessica Aguilar in November. Overall, “Magnum” has a record of 18-1 with her only professional loss coming in her debut when she lost by decision.

The 29-year-old is very strong and technically sound both in striking and her wrestling. Through her two UFC fights, she is averaging 6.53 significant strikes per minute while only absorbing 2.3 significant strikes against. Additionally, she is securing 1.61 takedowns per 15 minutes, landing one in each of her first two bouts. Zhang has nine T/KO wins and seven submission victories among her 18 professional wins.

Torres is going to want to keep this fight striking and use her movement to stay away from Zhang. However, the Tiny Tornado tends to march forward, which leaves her susceptible to being taken down. Magnum hits 40 percent of her takedown attempts and I think she will have a massive strength advantage against the cage and on the floor if it gets there.

Prediction: Weili Zhang (-140) via decision

Torres vs Zhang Fight Center

Cody Garbrandt vs Pedro Munhoz

Garbrandt (-170) returns to the Octagon looking to get back in the win column after back-to-back losses to T.J. Dillashaw for the bantamweight belt. “No Love” won the strap against Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 but failed to defend the belt, getting knocked out twice by Dillashaw, most recently at UFC 227 in August of last year. Those losses are the only two in Garbrandt’s pro career.

The 27-year-old had a perfect 11-0 record before those defeats, with nine of the victories coming by knockout. He averages 3.48 significant strikes per minute while absorbing 3.43 significant strikes per minute. Additionally, he has a remarkable takedown defense, having never been brought to the floor in the UFC. Garbrandt has really good movement and uses his long reach well to keep his opponents at bay.

Munhoz (+140) looks to extend his two-fight winning streak and inch ever closer to a title shot. Most recently, “The Young Punisher” earned a TKO victory over Bryan Caraway at The Ultimate Fighter 28 Finale in November. The 32-year-old has just one loss since 2016 and that came against John Dodson via split decision at UFC 222 in March of last year.

The Brazil native is an active fighter, never backing away from his opponents and willing to get into exchanges with them. He averages 5.02 significant strikes per minute but also absorbs 5.4 significant strikes per minute. I find he lacks true knockout power but has great cardio that wears on his opponents, allowing him to earn TKO wins. Meanwhile, if fighters look to drag him to the mat, they are in real danger of being caught in a guillotine choke, a method by which he has six victories.

I expect these two competitors to go to war in the standup department with both guys having great takedown defense and a willingness to trade hands. Garbrandt has a long reach and has a lot of swag when he’s in the Octagon, daring his opponents to throw at him so he can fire back. Meanwhile, Munhoz is much more aggressive taking the fight to his opponents but lacks real punching power.

Prediction: Cody Garbrandt (-170) via decision

Garbrandt vs Munhoz Fight Center

Here’s a look at the full list of odds for UFC 235: Jones vs Smith:

UFC 235: Jones vs Smith Betting Odds
  • Jon Jones -800
  • Anthony Smith +500
Odds as of March 2 at Bovada
  • Tyron Woodley -175
  • Kamaru Usman +145
  • Ben Askren -260
  • Robbie Lawler +200
  • Tecia Torres +110
  • Weili Zhang -140
  • Cody Garbrandt -170
  • Pedro Munhoz +140
  • Zabit Magomedsharipov -260
  • Jeremy Stephens +200
  • Misha Cirkunov +140
  • Johnny Walker -170
  • Cody Stamann -170
  • Alejandro Perez +140
  • Diego Sanchez +200
  • Mickey Gall -260
  • Edmen Shahbazyan -175
  • Charles Byrd +145
  • Gina Mazany +350
  • Macy Chiasson -500
  • Polyana Viana -300
  • Hannah Cifers +230